Colorado Water Issues Committee

Challenge

Rice farmers in the lower Colorado River basin, the heart of Texas’s rice industry, found do themselves fighting for their very survival after a rapid series of major setbacks:

  • Irrigation water was cut off by the Lower Colorado River Authority for the 2nd year in a row under an emergency order.
  • A legislative bill was filed to make the emergency cutoff of water a permanent regime.
  • Vietnamese rice was imported to replace Texas rice at the state’s major rice processor.

The rice farmers, organized as the Colorado Water Issues Committee, knew they needed to raise awareness of the devastating consequences resulting from the onerous events. They also wanted to publicly support ways to meet the growing need for water up and down the river basin.


Solution

The Colorado Water Issues Committee turned to LRPR to help them tell their story. LRPR viewed the situation as a form of crisis communications, given the urgent nature of events and timely responses required by CWIC.

We developed key messages, located photographs, created graphics, and wrote news releases and opinion pieces to get the CWIC message out. News releases and advisories were distributed to local, regional, statewide and national media outlets.

LRPR also helped coordinate interviews with members of CWIC and reporters. Target audiences included the media, the public at large and elected officials.

In addition, the CWIC website was revamped to serve as a more useful resource for the media and other interested parties.

Outcome

Media coverage of the farmer’s plight soared. More than 20 articles appeared in the first month after the campaign was launched.

Stories were carried in television, radio, and newspaper outlets, including national and international ones:

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